Where to Light Up
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20 City Parks That Are Great for Summer Grilling

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Where to Light Up
rez-art/istockphoto

Where to Light Up

Summertime and outdoor grilling go hand in hand like ice cream and cake. And what better place to enjoy a summer barbecue than at a park, where the kids can play freely or you can enjoy the company of others while basking in the sunshine and fresh air? Here are some of the top city parks around the country to get your grill on this summer, based on local news reports, and visitor and expert reviews.

Related: 33 Idyllic Parks That Bring Nature to the City

Prospect Park | Brooklyn, New York
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Prospect Park | Brooklyn, New York

A park known for being spacious, beautiful, and dog-friendly, Prospect Park has the added bonus of not being as crazy as others in New York City, says Max Falb, a local resident who frequents the park. "And it always feels more breezy and airy compared to other parks," Falb says. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (who together also famously created Central Park), Prospect Park also offers about a dozen different barbecuing areas. Take note however, propane barbecuing is prohibited. Only charcoal is allowed.

Related: 52 Free or Cheap Things to Do in New York City

Frenchman’s Bar Park | Vancouver, Washington
Courtesy of clark.wa.gov

Frenchman’s Bar Park | Vancouver, Washington

Located on the east shore of the Columbia River, Frenchman's Bar Park is a place where you'll feel like you're at the beach. The 120-acre park has nine barbecue grills and two rentable shelters. There are also 34 picnic tables scattered about. The park is about 10 minutes from the closest corner convenience store and 15 minutes from the closest grocery store near downtown Vancouver, according to local officials.

Forest Park | St. Louis
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Forest Park | St. Louis

This 1,300-acre park is more than 500 acres larger than New York's Central Park, meaning there is ample space for enjoying a summer day and doing some grilling. There are grilling locations throughout Forest Park, many of which can accommodate up to 100 people (think summer birthday party) and can be reserved ahead of time. Forest Park is located in the heart of the city with two markets within blocks of the east side of the park and another market within blocks on the west side, according to local officials.

Piedmont Park | Atlanta
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Piedmont Park | Atlanta

Piedmont Park is in the heart of Atlanta's midtown neighborhood, a sprawling greens pace that includes walking trails, a dog run, a botanical garden, and more. The park also includes 22 grills and picnic shelters. An added bonus: Right near the grills, there's a water park that operates during the summer. Keep in mind, some picnic areas require a reservation and others are first-come first-serve. Portable grills are not permitted in the park.

Will Rogers State Historic Park | Los Angeles
Courtesy of parks.ca.gov

Will Rogers State Historic Park | Los Angeles

A park that receives rave reviews for its ample hiking into the Santa Monica Mountains (where the reward is often stunning views of the ocean and the city), Will Rogers State Historic Park is also beloved for being a place where you can hike with your dogs. The picnic area, which is located above the park's polo field, features tables and barbecue grills that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Keep in mind that there's a $12 parking fee to access Will Rogers State Park, so some visitors recommend instead parking near the entrance and walking in.

Related: The Best of California for Budget Vacations

Larz Anderson Park, Brookline, MA
Larz Anderson Park, Brookline, MA by (None)

Larz Anderson Park | Brookline, Massachusetts

This 61-acre greenspace is the largest park in Brookline and was once part of the Larz Anderson estate. Its features include wide-open lawns, playing fields, great views of the Boston city skyline, and barbecue grills. The park is also home to the Museum of Transportation. Visitors rave about the park's open spaces, clean bathrooms, and playgrounds for the kids. Though the park website doesn't mention it, some users suggest you may need to get a permit ahead of time to grill.

Washington Park | Denver
Courtesy of jmjr2k/Tripadvisor

Washington Park | Denver

A spacious 153-acre open space, Washington Park features two lakes, two flower gardens, (one of which is a replica of George Washington's gardens at Mount Vernon) and walking trails. Reviewers say the park is a great place to have a picnic, barbecue, take a stroll, and more. While grills are not provided here, the park does allow visitors to bring a grill, as long as it is 24 inches off of the ground.

Golden Gate Park | San Francisco
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Golden Gate Park | San Francisco

A destination that's legendary for its many museums, there are barbecue grills located throughout Golden Gate Park, from Elk Glen Meadow (on 26th Avenue) to George Washington Grove (along MLK Drive and 25th Avenue). Still more grills can be found at Lindley Meadow (along JFK Drive and 30th Avenue) and also at Marx Meadow (JFK Drive and 26th Avenue). Some of the premium grilling and picnic locations in the park, such as Stow Lake Picnic Area, charge rental fees. Those who barbecue here must bag and remove the charcoal when leaving.

Related: 20 Free and Cheap Things to Do in San Francisco

Penguin Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Courtesy of kcparks.org

Penguin Park | Kansas City, Kansas

Designed specifically with kids in mind, parents rave about the fact that there are activities at Penguin Park for children of all ages thanks to its multiple play areas. And yes, there are barbecue grills too, four of them. When the weather is warm and particularly on weekends, Penguin Park can get crowded, so you'll want to get there in plenty of time to secure both a parking spot and a grill.

Mission Bay Park | San Diego
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Mission Bay Park | San Diego

Set on the shores of sparkling Mission Bay, this park draws visitors all year round thanks to its many offerings and amenities including barbecue grills. Hundreds of grills can be found at 15 prime locations around the bay including Bonita Cove, Crown Point, De Anza Cove, Fiesta Island, Hospitality Point, Mariner's Point, Mission Point, Model Yacht Pond, Playa Pacifica, Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park, Ski Beach, and more. Each location has various amenities including picnic tables and shelters, restrooms, playgrounds, and beach areas. There's also plenty of wide-open park space to spread out.

Theodore Wirth Regional Park | Minneapolis, Minnesota
Courtesy of Margie A./ yelp.com

Theodore Wirth Regional Park | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Located just west of downtown Minneapolis, Theodore Wirth Regional Park is the largest park in the city's park system at 740 acres. There are five grills located near and across from a beach, making it a great place for summer cookouts. Need to stock up on more supplies? Lunds & Byerlys, an upscale local market, is only a few minutes down the road, according to local officials. After your barbecue, consider heading over to one of the two golf courses to work off those calories.

Monteith Riverpark | Albany, Oregon
Courtesy of Oscar H./tripadvisor.com

Monteith Riverpark | Albany, Oregon

Albany has a robust park system that includes a neighborhood or community park in nearly every neighborhood zone, many featuring barbecue grills. Among the notable parks throughout Albany that offer barbecuing are Deerfield, Lehigh, Pineway, Gibson Hill, and Periwinkle parks. Monteith Riverpark is also among the top choices among visitors because, in addition to the barbecue grills, there are often events such as concerts and movies there during the summer. The park, located where the Calapooia River meets the Willamette River, also offers paved paths for walking and jogging.

Magnolia Park | Seattle
Courtesy of seattle.gov

Magnolia Park | Seattle

With its outstanding views of downtown Seattle and the nearby Puget Sound, Magnolia Park is a neighborhood green space that's popular place among locals and for the occasional company picnic. There's an abundance of picnic tables here say reviewers and the picnic shelters, which must be reserved by contacting the city of Seattle, include barbecue grills. Parking is free but can sometimes fill up during the summer months.

Idlewild Park | Reno, Nevada
Courtesy of Erikafromreno / tripadvisor.com

Idlewild Park | Reno, Nevada

Located along the Truckee River, Idlewild Park is popular among visitors for offering a little something for everyone and that includes barbecue grills. Located next to Reno's downtown area — in case you need to stock up on barbecue necessities — the park is also easily accessible to northwest Reno and Old Southwest Reno. Additional amenities at the park include picnic shelters, a basketball court, and tennis courts. Information on the city's website about grilling here is limited, so you may want to call ahead to inquire about rules and regulations.

Oakledge Park | Burlington, Vermont
Courtesy of enjoyburlington.com

Oakledge Park | Burlington, Vermont

A grilling location that comes highly recommended by the writers at travel site NorthOutdoors.com, Oakledge is located on the shores of Lake Champlain. "It's a city park that has it all … great lake views, fishing, playgrounds, and a perfect swimming beach," said the site's founder Paul Johnson, adding that Oakledge Park offers plenty of grills for those who want to bring their own food and cook it up in the park. Parking is $2 per hour and free during the off season. The park is open year-round.

Clark Park | Philadelphia
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Clark Park | Philadelphia

A community hub that's almost always bustling with activity, Curbed Philadelphia has named historic Clark Park one of the best places for barbecuing or a picnic. There are grills, picnic tables, and a playground for the kids. Keep in mind that if you plan to bring 25 or more people for your barbecue gathering, you'll need a permit. Also note that this park is likely to be busy, as it hosts a full schedule of events including festivals, flea markets, theatrical performances, concerts and a year-round farmers' market.

Freestone Park | Gilbert, Arizona
Courtesy of Andrew D./yelp.com

Freestone Park | Gilbert, Arizona

An 88-acre park that includes softball fields, basketball courts and tennis courts, Freestone Park was named one of the 12 best places for a picnic in greater Phoenix. There are seven open-air picnic tables with barbecue grills at the park. Additional amenities here include restrooms, a skate park and three playgrounds. In other words, there's plenty to keep people of all ages busy while you're barbecuing.

Eisenhower Park | San Antonio
Courtesy of Brent L. / yelp.com

Eisenhower Park | San Antonio

With its playgrounds, walking trails, and ample picnic and barbecue locations, Eisenhower Park is popular among locals for a summer outing. As one Yelp reviewer notes, "There are several picnic areas with everything you need." There are also several pavilion areas available to rent for outdoor functions. As an added bonus, entrance to the park is free.

Freedom Park | Charlotte, North Carolina
Courtesy of jpullo/tripadvisor.com

Freedom Park | Charlotte, North Carolina

A highly rated Charlotte option, in addition to outdoor shelters with grills, Freedom Park offers tennis and volleyball courts, batting cages, playgrounds and soccer fields spread over 98 acres. There are five shelters that include grills. During athletic events, the park tends to get crowded and parking can be limited.

Los Altos Park | Albuquerque, New Mexico
Courtesy of Andrea "the snapper" C. / yelp.com

Los Altos Park | Albuquerque, New Mexico

A 32-acre city greenspace, in addition to the barbecue grills and 11 picnic tables to be found here, Los Altos Park features six tennis courts, a playground, and four lighted softball fields. And with 380 spaces, there's also plenty of parking. The largest skate park in southwest Albuquerque is also nearby.